It was with that spirit that I brought my daughter, an MD, PhD, to my mentor session with The Young Ladies of Distinction, an empowerment group for girls at the Uptown Middle School in Atlantic City.
Two of the young ladies met us at the front door of the school building. They were easily recognized by their purple pashmina scarves....a special treat to the uniform policy. Bright smiles and firm handshakes welcomed us and beckoned us to follow.
The building was bustling with end of the day announcements and activity bells! These girls were as focused as if it were the beginning of the day!
We started our meeting by listening to them say their creed in unison. Words of empowerment about their worth, their actions, their future were like music to my ears. To see them is to believe them. These girls mean business.
I had previously arranged a tour at the world famous toy store FAO in NY for the girls and we spent our first few minutes recapping their trip! The were filled with stories of the big city and gratitude.
|YLOD in Times Square!|
Mixed in the conversation on great brands, and favorite pastimes, a few of the girls expressed interest in medicine.
My daughter joined in the conversation....full of affirmations. When we took the group picture she looked more like them than the profession I know to be hers. When she said JayZ was her favorite rapper they really took a shine to her.
What happened next brought tears to my eyes and filled my heart. Their adviser, Mrs. Jackson, a gifted teacher and nurturing caregiver to these girls, casually pulled up Google and typed in my daughter's name. On their pull down screen in front of the class she showed up in her white coat and all of her credentials. She talked to them about how long and what it takes to really be a scientist and or a physician. She had them visualize what it would look like, how old would they be, what they need to do. More than anything.....she looked like them. She went to public school just like them. She was brought up with their city as a place she knows. If she is what a doctor looks like then so are they! Showing them was better than telling them!
We wrapped things up with a real practice session. Natasha, yikes...Dr. Corbitt, pulled out her stethoscope and let the girls come over and have a listen. She answered their thoughtful and provoking questions. She listened.
I gave out a bit of swag and did my firm handshakes goodbye. I was composed and proper but I wanted to kick and shout. These girls shine so bright I need to shield my eyes. The added bonus was seeing my daughter in this setting.....wow. I've always known how smart she is and how good she is at her job....but in that setting I saw why pediatric surgery is her specialty. She really has a way with the kids.
I look forward to this dedicated time with these young people like it was the most important thing I have to do. It may seem like time I am giving them....in truth....they are giving me the gift of sight...into a beautiful future where girls can do and be anything! I look forward to them showing me better than I can tell you here. And that is real talk!
If you are reading this and are inspired by these girls in the way that I am give the gift of your time to a young person where you live! Every flower needs a lil water to show it's bloom!